Plant of the Month: Dwarf Penta

Not many plants can stand the heat and humidity in Florida, but the Dwarf Penta loves it! This sun and heat loving flower that has been bred to bloom all summer. These attractive plants produce red, pink, or white flowers which makes them a great addition to a sunny, hot, flower garden throughout the summer and are a great source of food for hummingbirds and butterflies. This variety of Penta will stay compact and top out around 12 – 15 inches.

When to plant Dwarf Pentas:
Grow pentas in a full sun location after all danger of frost has passed. Pentas love warm temperatures and will stall and not grow well if planted too early. It’s easiest to purchase penta plants from a garden center in spring.

Where to plant Dwarf Pentas:
Grow pentas in full/part sun. Plant transplants in well-drained, compost-amended soil. Pentas don’t like cold, wet feet. Grow pentas 1 to 2 feet apart and grow them in groups for a more dramatic effect...

Plant of the Month: Milkweed

Milkweed is the poster plant for pollinator-friendly landscape designs. Not only is it attractive, it's an important nectar source for bees and other insects. Milkweed is also well known for attracting butterflies and serving as a host plant for their caterpillars.

Most famously, milkweed serves as the only host plant for the monarch butterfly.

Milkweed generally grows quickly, reaching a final height up to four feet tall, depending on the species. You can plant them closely, about 18-24 inches apart in most North Florida lawns. And whether or not the milkweed is being installed as part of a butterfly garden, plant multiple plants. Too few and you will be left with leafless milkweed and hungry caterpillars! Planting multiple species can also increase the attractiveness to butterflies and other pollinators in your yard.

Avoid Pesticides
As a host plant for a number of pollinators, use of pesticides on milkweed is...

Plant of the Month: Gerbing Azaleas

The Gerbing is a larger, more full-sized Azalea variety with large, pure white blooms that average about 3" in diameter. Blooms are very numerous in spring, with an occasional re-bloom period in early to mid-fall. Gerbing is an evergreen Azalea variety that generally is one of the few Azalea cultivars that are capable of thriving in planting areas with higher light exposure.

Foliage is a slightly lighter medium green color, with leaves being quite large and slightly elongated. This Azalea variety makes a very good foundation planting with medium size, and also does very well when mass planted or used as a hedge. Has a slightly more upright growth habit than most of the other Azalea varieties.

Like all Azaleas, Gerbing prefers semi-shade, and will even do well in planting locations with mostly shade, but is rare in that it is one of the few varieties that will also handle higher amounts of sun exposure.

These Azaleas have shallow, non-...

Plant of the Month: ‘Black Diamond’ Crape Myrtle

Black Diamonds are a revolutionary new series of crape myrtles that provide unique beauty to your landscape and instant yard envy for your neighbors. Flawless black foliage emerges in early spring followed by masses of brilliant jewel-toned blooms that last until the first frost.

How Fast do Black Diamond Crape Myrtles Grow?

A Black Diamond Crape Myrtle tree can grow 2 to 4 feet in a single year. Once they get to mature height the trunks and branches grow thicker, but the trees stay around 12 feet tall.

How to care for Black...

Gainesville Landscape Plant of the month: Dwarf Ruellia

Dwarf Ruellia' is an improved variety and able to bloom beautiful pink or purple flowers almost all year long. We like this dwarf variety because they feature low, spreading mounds of narrow, dark green foliage. The combination of the flowers, grass-like texture, and green foliage make it a perfect filler to add color and interest to barren, dry areas in the yard. We also like to plant them in borders or on a sunny slope. Thanks to their compact form, these Ruellias are an excellent choice for use as a groundcover in tighter, narrower spaces and they also look great when planted in pots or planters!

Dwarf Ruellia is a low water use plant and is drought tolerant with little to moderate watering needs once established. This Ruellia variety thrives in full sun or partial shade exposures and is durable and easy to care for plants. These are a favorite for anyone that does not have a green thumb and still wants to have a thriving, colorful plant in their yard! They have a...

Gainesville Landscape Plant of the month: 'Mystic Spires' Salvia

Well-branched and very free-flowering, 'Mystic Spires' produces masses of sturdy, colorful flower stalks that are of great aesthetic appeal in beds, borders or containers and attract scores of butterflies, hummingbirds, and beneficial insects

This plant produces masses of colorful flowers that mix nicely with other annuals and perennials, is tolerant of heat and humidity (low and high), and is not bothered by pests or diseases or deer!

Exposure: full sun

Planting Time: spring to summer from containers

Soil type: adapts to most soils, but needs good drainage

This low-maintenance plant is perfect for Florida’s hot summers and keeps on blooming when other flowering plants have begun to decline.

How to Care for your Salvia:
Be sure to water every day during the establishment period after planting in the garden from a container, then, once plants have...

Gainesville Landscape Plant of the month: Coreopsis

Coreopsis may be just what you need if you’re looking for lasting summer color after most perennial flowers fade from the garden. It is easy to learn how to care for coreopsis flowers, commonly called tickseed or pot of gold. When you’ve learned how to grow coreopsis, you’ll appreciate their sunny blooms throughout the gardening season. Coreopsis flowers may be annual or perennial and come in a variety of heights. A member of the Asteraceae family, blooms of growing coreopsis are similar to those of the daisy. Colors of petals include red, pink, white, and yellow, many with dark brown or maroon centers, which makes an interesting contrast to the petals.

Coreopsis are sun-loving, low-maintenance perennials with daisy-like flowers. They are drought-tolerant, long-blooming, and happy to grow in poor, sandy, or rocky soil.

New coreopsis plants need regular water to keep the soil evenly moist (but not soggy) until they are established. After their first year, these plants...

September Gainesville Landscape Plant of the Month - Cordyline

The Gainesville Landscape Plant of the Month for September is the Cordyline 'Red Sister', also known as Red Ti Plant, but is technically classified as Cordyline terminalis.  The Ti plant is native to east Asia and is profoundly robust on the leeward side of the Hawaiian Islands.

Red Sister grows 4 - 6 feet tall and should be spaced 3 feet apart.  The foliage is colored with burgundy to pink color with no need to flower because of it's tropical foliage color, although there is an occasional flower spike.

While often kept as a container plant for the house or patio, there are some landscape uses to consider as well.  When foliage shape and color is needed for that tropical look, the ti plant may be your answer. Just make sure in Gainesville lawn or landscapes that it is kept protected when the cold weather snaps down toward freezing.

Ti plants are very versatile in their growing conditions as they are happy in full sun to deep shade.  Just remember, as with all...

Gainesville Landscape Flower of the Month: Fall Mums

Instant impact! That's what you'll get when you put a generous helping of chrysanthemums (commonly just called "mums") in your entryway, flower border, or containers. Generally sold in ready-to-bloom form, mums add a fall finale of color to any setting. They come in a wide variety of flower colors and shapes, from small button-sized blooms to giant corsage-worthy flowers. Mum colors include white, yellow, pink, orange, red, burgundy, cream, salmon, and bi-color - which are all also great fall colors to go with Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations. There are also dwarf forms that grow just 8 to 10 inches tall and standards that can reach a couple feet in height. Mums are very popular with bees and butterflies, too. 

They're only downside? They aren't this colorful year-round. As beautiful as they are for fall, they typically don't last through winter without special care and maintenance. A cold winter will freeze them down completely, but it...

September Landscape Plant of the Month - Jolt Dianthus

Our seasonal color nursery's first crop of 'Jolt' Dianthus is coming in and we're excited about these plants for fall.   This is our second year with 'Jolt' and our customers could not have been happier with its Gainesville landscape performance.

First, Jolt is an interspecific hybrid that is perennial locally. Basically, it survives throughout the year even though it struggles through the summer  These are taller than some Dianthus at 16"-20" tall and should be planted with 10"-14" spacing to enjoy the clusters of flowers up and down the plant.

Dianthus may be used in borders or containers, and make great bedding plants when massed together at commercial property entrances. Although this is our plant for September, our Gainesville Landscape clients should wait until October to plant. They will flower through winter and spring, only stopping when temperatures rise, usually in May.

They will do best in full sun to partial shade, and prefer rich, well-drained...

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